Farnham Formula 2 ace Olli Caldwell makes great strides with top-ten finish
Olli Caldwell made great strides at the Hungaroring as the Formula 2 driver earned his best qualifying result – and a top-ten finish.
The 20-year-old from Farnham impressed on the track near Budapest which boasts sharp turns and long straights, and minimal chances for overtaking.
Having showed good pace in practice before qualifying got under way, qualifying was all about a balance of strong pace and strategy.
As the first times began to trickle in, Olli found himself in 16th place – but with plenty more in the tank.
As the track cleared, the Campos team opted to send Olli out in the gap to punch in some fast laps.
Enjoying the track to himself, the Alpine Academy driver shot up to first place.
But with the track conditions improving, that time ultimately proved to be good enough for only 13th on the grid overall.
“It was our best qualifying and probably our best session of the year so far,” said Caldwell.
“We made big steps forward – both myself and the team – in understanding where we were lacking in qualifying. It’s frustrating to be just outside the top ten, but the team did a great job and we’re in a good place to fight in the races.”
Lining up on the grid, Olli’s lightning-quick reactions boosted him to 11th in the opening lap.
With rivals receiving a time penalty, Olli was promoted to ninth on the road when they peeled into the pits.
With a gap to the leading pack leaving him out of DRS range, the British driver was vulnerable to the chase behind. But he battled hard and defended his position to cross the line in tenth, earning a strong top-ten finish.
“That was a good race from my side and I’m really happy to finish inside the top ten,” said Olli. “We got caught behind a rival driver for a while, which caused some tyre degradation, but overall we had some good battles.”
In the hunt for points in the feature race, he struggled for grip off the line after the overnight rain and had his work cut out.
He dropped to 18th place and opted to make an early pit stop on lap eight.
Running at the back, he improved to 16th as the pit stops began, but it was very much a game of keeping the tyres under control while trying to keep his nose clean.
As rain began to threaten, Olli staged a fighting comeback to be running just shy of the points before coming under increasing pressure from those on fresher tyres.
He was in 11th as the final laps ticked down but was forced to pull up and retire on the last lap, having run out of fuel in the dying moments.
The Formula 2 calendar has now reached the summer break.
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